Why the long face?

I can’t write anything. I don’t care enough. I’ve become more and more anhedonic over the past few months. I’ve tried to do things I should enjoy but they just leave me cold.

I’m not writing. Fiction, I mean. I have one high-concept novel and one killer sci-fi epic on pause. I just can’t make anything happen.

I’m lonely. There, I said it. It’d be nice to actually date someone, but I hate people and no-one would pick me out of a pair, much less a crowd.

And so it goes.

Going to the pictures (I)

Before Christmas last year, the Empire cinema near me was sold to Cineworld. It took them a week or so but they rebranded and sorted themselves out pretty fast. I told myself I’d get one of their Unlimited cards - you pay a direct debit amount every month, which enables you to watch as many films as you want, provided you have a ticket for each one. To someone anticipating the summer period, this was a no-brainer.

I waited until something came out that I wanted to see, and then I purchased said membership. Since then we’ve seen quite a few films, and apart from simply sticking the cinema tickers in my TARDIS, I feel like I’ve ignored what I have seen. Considering I’ve been feeling starved of inspiration of late, this Will Not Stand.

I’ve decided to try to keep up with the films we watch, more for my own ‘look-out for the blu ray’ list than anything else. So here we go: a spoiler-free recap of the films I’ve seen through my Cineworld Unlimited Membership (Odeon also does one of these, but there isn’t an Odeon close enough to me).

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (19th Dec 2016)

I think everyone knew what was going to happen before they entered the cinema, but for those new to Star Wars in general it was a pretty good intro to the universe. Nothing could have been worse than the prequels of 1999 - 2005, and we had just had a decent rehash of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. But how good was this spin-off going to be?

The entire film had a wonderful Star Wars IV feel to it; we had British Baddies and Darth Vader trying to stop multicultural rebels. The British Baddies even had the same 1977 porn-taches and hair-dos. It segued well into the events of Star Wars IV, even including a few nods to original characters and events surrounding the spin-off people. As the inevitable happened one by one, the impact was really felt. I think I was more upset about losses in this film than in Star Wars VII.

Verdict: 9/10; would recommend.

Passengers (29th Dec 2016)

Being suckered into this film was my fault; I barely saw the entire trailer before yelling ‘YOU HAD ME AT COOL SPACESHIP’ and putting a reminder in my phone to book tickets. Chris Pratt is a competent, fun actor, and Jennifer Lawrence is always a good bet. So as the movie dragged on - mostly ignoring the cool ship in favour of boring the pants off everyone with a tepid love story that borders on the creepy side (not in a good horror movie way), I realised I should have done more homework. They could have cut 45 minutes out of the middle and nothing would have been affected, other than we might have missed the robot bartender, who is in every way epic.

Verdict: 3/10 (and that was for the ship design and the robot bartender); would not recommend.

Assassin’s Creed (5th Jan 2017)

Michael Fassbender in a video game adaption (but not the version with Matt Ryan in it)? Why not. He’s always good and after Passengers, I really didn’t care where the good times came from.

Good cinematography, good storyline, some great characters (Marion Cotillard is brilliant), and most of all, some good fusion of game-play action and modern-day Reasons For Plot. If the last scene isn’t a sequel set-up then I’m shocked.

Verdict: 8.5/10; would recommend.

Hidden Figures (special members-only screening, 6th Feb 2017)

Actresses: wonderful. Story of them powering the math and engineering behind getting John Glenn into orbit and safely back again: brilliant. It could have delved deeper into the racism side of things for me, but otherwise this was a good tale told well.

Verdict: 9/10; would recommend.

The Lego Batman Movie (12th Feb 2017)

Yes, I’m 40 years old. No, I do not have any children, nor did I watch this film with any. But it was damn good fun. There were some kiddie moments - there had to be, after all - but the sophistication of some of the humour, and how self-aware the film was, overcome all of that. The voices were well-cast and the humour for me was spot-on. Also gave my fellow watchers and I a phrase for the next few weeks: I don’t wanna DO that.

Verdict: 9.10; would recommend.

John Wick: Chapter 2 (14th Feb 2017)

Had a bad day? Want to see a metric shit-tonne of Deserving Bad People get shot, sliced up, stabbed (with a pencil), punched, broken and pretty much fucked-up in short order? Then look no further. I think this movie is better than the first one, but your mileage may vary where puppies, cars, houses, wives and Lovejoys are concerned. This film may actually push Hard Boiled off the top spot of my go-to list of films that sometimes I just need to see to make me feel better about People In General being arseholes.

Verdict: 9/10; would recommend.

The Great Wall (23rd Feb, 2017)

Matt Damon is let out of the house by himself AGAIN and this time gets kinda lost in China. He encounters the Great Wall itself and along with his mate, sets about working out how to rob the inhabitants of all their stuff. However, as they’re desperately trying to fight off monsters with all the best tricks they’ve learnt over the last 2 waves of evil beasts, instead he has to decide how much he wants to live to steal shit another day. Great casting (Andy Lau! Eddie Peng! Tian Jing!), good effects, a pretty decent plot and more action than even Yuen Wu-Ping could shake a sword at, this was in turns amusing, grave, entertaining and satisfying.

Verdict: 9.10; would recommend.

Logan (2nd March 2017)

Billed as basically the last time Hugh Jackman would reprise the role of Wolverine, this movie caused mixed feelings before I even went in; I knew roughly what the outcome would be, but I was also very interested in how it would leave mutants in general. I think Jackman did Logan proud: a fine performance, some great set pieces as well as some trademark Wolverine humour in just a few places - this could have been absurdly depressing, but somehow it wasn’t. Everyone else in it was a treat to watch, and the ending left me with hope. It was a good ending to a lot of things, but as one door closes, so another opens, as they say.

You may want to note: in the UK there was no Deadpool teaser, or short, and no after-credits scene.

Verdict: 9/10; would recommend.

Kong: Skull Island (9th March 2017)

Brie Larson, Samuel L Jackson, Tom Hiddleston and scene-stealing John C Reilly - some excellent shots of creatures, better than what was promised in the trailer, as well as a truly man-eating island of weird shit and weirder escape plans. The cast was great, the CGI was impressive, the story a good one and I for one had a tonne of fun watching this.

You may want to note: the after-credits scene is clever and very welcome.

Verdict: 9.5/10; would DEFINITELY recommend.

Free Fire (special members-only screening, 15th March 2017)

The names in this are a treat in themselves: Michael Smiley, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer and Sharlto Copley. You have American, South African, Irish and everything in between in an arms deal trying to go down in a dockside warehouse in Boston, 1978. Witty, amusing, in-your-face language, bodily damage and death - fun for all the family. A little slow in places, it did however keep things interesting until the very last scene. My only gripe is that you became too attached to certain characters. Ah well.

Verdict: 7.5/10; would recommend.

And that’s it for now - hopefully I’ll stay more up to date with these reviews from now on. I can’t wait until summer, when we have to see 2 films a week just to keep up. Good times.

Peach and lube, people - peach and lube.

Nor Hell a Fury

Title: Nor Hell a Fury

Rated T for some shooting, some fire, an emu, some friendship and hurt/comfort, our favourite pansexual Devil, and some good old-fashioned vengeance.

An intriguing case for Chloe Decker is Lucifer's idea of boredom - until the string of apparently random killings includes Lux. But are the killings really random? And is the perpetrator even human? Case fic.

I do not own Lucifer the show in any of its forms or any of the characters. This is all for fun, not for profit. Unless you add me to any favourites lists or leave reviews/comments.

Linky-link-link: HERE at An Archive of Our Own under my name TozaBoma (because they don’t re-edit your stuff later) and HERE at Fanfiction dot net under my name Mardy Lass.

If you even visit the page, I thank you.

Forward not back

A few things.

I’ve always felt very temporary about myself. How best to sum it up? That moment in Heat, when Robert De Niro says someone once told him: “Don't let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner” - that’s how to sum it up. I don’t have long-term contracts. I don’t have a mortgage, or a loan, or a phone contract, or a lease agreement on a car. Everything I have, I own myself - except where I live. I rent a loft and I’m happy with it. Because it’s not mine - I could give notice and leave it behind, move on. And so I’ve always done.

I went to Hong Kong 14 years and 2 months ago. It was supposed to be for a while, so see what happened. It was 11 years of trying new things and being isolated from baggage and stuff I didn’t need and left behind. Every few years I would have to move to a new flat, either through monetary or social reasons. It taught me that everything you have is just Stuff, and you don’t need half of what you think you do. When I got back and found that I had misplaced a whole box of Stuff, I wasn’t too upset. I was more concerned about how I’d made that much of a mistake, not about the Stuff itself. As it turns out, you can replace Stuff if you have enough money and access to Tinternet. So there’s that.

The problem now is that I’m back and I’m bored. I always thought I’d be here for a while, but now I’m not so sure. When I go to bed I wonder about other countries and where to go next. I think about getting a job in the U.S. so I can volunteer at Dragon*Con every year. I think about how easy it would technically and financially be to go to Europe and work there whilst the UK passport is still good. When I’m at work and people talk about problems and the state of the world, I wonder how I can volunteer for the Mars One programme. And that’s where things get depressing.

See, it’s all Star Trek’s fault. We can all strive and work towards the best that we can make things, but there will always be people like Donald Trump or Radovan Karadzic bringing us all back down again. But part of you still wants to accomplish incredible things - to travel, to see, to try, to understand, to get away from everything familiar and experience The New. You wonder why you can’t just bring drinking water to an entire continent overnight, because you’ve thought of a way. Or how you can stop violence against a majority by changing everyone’s minds overnight.

And then it comes back to the reason, the excuse, the barrier: people. One person is great; one person can indeed change the world. But people? They’re arseholes. They’re stubborn, jealous, vindictive, tiny-minded, judgemental gits. And that will never change. You could have the secret of clean energy for the entire planet, and there’d still be someone trying to stop you before you could plug it in. You could have a sit-down with major world leaders and be on the verge of everyone saying “You know, you’re right - why are we even fighting about this? What a bunch of twats we’ve been all this time” and there’d be one person spiking the water with Stella to start a new punch-up.

So I guess I’ll just keep on keeping on. I’ll continue to go to work, turn up the music, lay on the alcohol, and watch Time roll by. I feel like I’m literally wasting (filling?) time until I finally die. I don’t want to, but the idea doesn’t scare me, either. It just fills me with sadness that I won’t have done anything worthwhile before I go. I think if I was on a plane or in a car crash or something where I had 3 seconds to realise the inevitable was about to happen, my reaction would be something like ‘well, shit’. Resignation, acceptance, disappointment. That’s what it would feel like.

In the meantime, I am trying to get an original fiction novel published. That’s going about as well as you’d expect - even though every time I send it off, I’m excited and hopeful. Give it two months with no favourable reply and I’m back to square one.

And so it goes.

Hmm. No.

So for reasons I won’t go into, I ended up trying the BBC show Miranda. The first episode had me laughing out loud, so I went with it. Before I knew it, I’d done the entire first series. And then the second. I’m currently trying to stretch out the third and final season, as it’s been such fun I don’t want it to end so soon.

The thing is, I’m trying to work out why I find it so funny. We don’t have a lot in common, me and the Miranda of the show, but I do enjoy the live audience’s reaction. It’s like they’re all my friends and they react the same as me. The first time they went ‘booooo!’ I’ve went: hang on, this is fun. I like the in-jokes that carry over into more series. I like the set-up. I like the humour. I think the way she carries on with her mate are how me and my HK flatmate used to be. One thing perhaps I was not banking on was the one thing we do have in common: how single we are.

The character enjoys being single: she makes her vegtepals and fruit friends, and amuses herself with jelly in the blender and home concerts. She may come under constant and harsh fire from all around her for being without a boyfriend, but she does enjoy her single life. There’s an edge of desperation about it, but maybe that’s why it’s a little too close for comfort.

I’ve been on dating websites. They all lasted about 2 weeks because on those rare occasions I had messages from people, I did not seriously consider that I would have to speak back to them. And there was no way on this Earth that I’d actually want to meet anyone. And so all memberships were revoked and I went back to normal, safe in the knowledge that it wasn’t for me.

And then I watched the show and I thought, well, maybe the reason I want her to get together with Gary is not about her at all (although, hey, it is Tom Ellis). Maybe I have my own displacement going on and it’s all about me after all. That is an unfortunate truth that I have managed to accept, in that I’m now comfortable with my discomfort of its voracity.

So here I go again on my own, as the song goes: I joined yet another dating site. This is more about listing your favourite choons and bands, and finding people who like the same music. So there’s that.

First things first: you come up with a username. Done. Then you give the site some details, like age, place, gender, hobbies, more artists, gig or concert history, that kind of thing. Done. And then they ask for a photo - of course they do. Like people trawling for new jobs don’t consider one without a salary listed, photos on dating sites are pretty much deal-breakers.

So what do you do if you don’t have any photos? I mean none. I don’t have any selfies on my phone, or in fact anywhere else. I have one picture of me from this year, and that was at a convention. It’s a perfect shot of my cosplay, just not of me. So no, it’s not being used. Plus I’ve had my hair cut since and do not want a photo on there of a time when I was more unhappy with my hair than I am now.

Cue me getting up on a sunny, Sunday morning and taking an extra 10 minutes to ‘do my hair’ after my shower. Plus a bit of make-up (and I don’t do make-up) to smooth everything over. Go outside, find a good spot with a background of bright azure sky with fluffy white clouds, and there we go. Selfie that shit. Check the shot, take two more, then have a cigarette and wonder if it’s all really worth it.

It’s gone up on the site. No, I’m not doing any more. I’m making an effort with this; I do a post a day about the songs I like. Mostly because part of me is really quite worried what being single is doing to me in terms of not being used to sharing, of communicating, of planning or being a grown-up.

That last one - being a grown-up. If there’s one thing a dating site does to me, it makes me look at everyone on there and realise I have no place there. Those people have lives, buy t-shirts and groceries, make permanent things like buying houses or getting married of having children. The most permanent thing about me is my use of Apple products. Seriously - I rent a place with no formal contract. I have a job that is not my life and could easily be changed for another. I’ve just come back from an overseas job and I’m realising how England is just not doing it for me. I’ve been searching for jobs back in HK but also in the USA. I’ve even looked at Canada on a whim. I’m seriously thinking of doing semi-paid volunteer work in the weather-ravaged parts of the USA to get an in on the whole green card thing, for 12 months as a try-before-you-buy. There is nothing permanent about my life. And it’s realising this that has triggered some borderline depression and the epiphany that I actually actively ignore most areas of my life because I can’t change them.

And that’s what it comes down to, I think. The old chestnut of ‘don’t worry about things you can’t change’ has literally got me into the pattern of flat-out ignoring what I don’t like about my life. For this reason, I have one mirror and it’s in the bathroom. For this reason, I don’t take selfies. For this reason, everyone I meet is the same and not judged on how much Another Me in Another Life and Position would shag them. Fancying people hasn’t come into it in for so long that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to be in a mind-set to fancy people. Considering I am nowhere near attractive enough (physically or personality-wise), in any light or stretch of the imagination, to make anyone want to meet me more than once, it’s a part of my life that is so ignored it doesn’t exist. (And friends meeting me more than once don’t count; we’re stuck with each other like we know where all the bodies are buried.)

I guess what I’m saying is, I’m so used to doing everything myself that I don’t consider looking for a partner to be a thing. Independence is a blessing and a curse; too much free ‘me’ time is definitely not good for me, and never has been.

I’ll continue to post on the dating site every day, to trawl through pictures, invent reasons why I won’t talk to the men in those pictures, and in a few weeks I’ll close the account again. It’s cyclical, and it’s depressing, but it’s what seems to happen.

It’s mostly not a problem; the two occasions where it is are (1) watching shows like Miranda and (2) those very rare occasions when my best mate gives me a hug and it’s so nice, and new, and comfortable, and friend-affectionate that it brings me to the point of tears. And seeing as I’m not even drunk when she does it, that’s pretty bad.

That looks like a good place to stop this before I talk myself into the kind of depression that is only helped by drink and Star Trek.